New Beat

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New Beat is a style of Belgian underground music and subculture that fused acid house and electro-industrial genres and flourished in Western Europe during the late-1980s.[1] It is a type of electronic dance music and electronic body music that was played at a slower speed and influenced the evolution of industrial dance music.

History[edit]

The European new beat sound originated in Belgium in the late 1980s, especially in 1987 and 1988.[2] It was an underground danceable music style, well known at clubs and discos in Western Europe.[3] It is a crossover of electronic body music (EBM, which also developed in Belgium) with the nascent Chicago-originated acid and house music. New beat is the immediate precursor of hardcore electronic dance music (at the time known as rave), which developed in the neighboring Netherlands and elsewhere around 1990.[4]

External audio
New Beat
A Split Second's - Flesh played at 33 1/3 rotations per minute +8% from YouTube

The genre was "accidentally invented" in the nightclub Ancienne Belgique (AB) in Brussels when DJ Dikke Ronny (literally "Fat Ronny") played the 45 rpm EBM record "Flesh" by A Split-Second at 33 rpm, with the pitch control set to +8.[2][5][6] In addition to A Split-Second, the genre was also heavily influenced by other industrial and EBM acts such as Front 242 and The Neon Judgement, as well as new wave and dark wave acts such as Fad Gadget, Gary Numan and Anne Clark. Mega-nightclubs such as the Boccaccio soon made the genre a major underground success.[2]

The Belgian sound was re-introduced to the United States market in 1989 as compilation album of various artists known as This is the New Beat.[7]

In 1989–90, the genre spawned two short-lived subgenres or successor genres, hard beat and skizzo - the latter being a techno-influenced style, considerably faster than the original slow new beat style.

The most commercially successful new beat groups were Confetti's[2] and The Lords of Acid, which received heavy airplay on the MTV Europe show Party Zone. MTV Europe's VJ Steve Blame was a great fan of new beat, and through his position on MTV News, he promoted Belgium's new beat sound via his reports. A memorable novelty song was Qui...? (1989) by Brussels Sound Revolution, which sampled parts of a press conference speech by former Prime Minister Paul Vanden Boeynants after his kidnapping by the gang of Patrick Haemers.[8][9]

Many Europeans consider new beat as a forerunner of European house (Euro-house). Others consider new beat to have been the first European techno dance music style, less aligned with Italo disco/Euro house/Eurobeat and more aligned with acid house.

The Belgian Electroclash band Psy'Aviah has released quite a few songs in the style of New Beat in recent years.

Film[edit]

In the 2012 documentary The Sound of Belgium, director Jozef Devillé describes the rise and popularity of the genre. It features many pioneers and original producers of the era, complemented by an exemplary selection of tracks, as well as an explanation of the musical roots of the genre. The film was received very well by audiences at IDFA in the same year.

Artists[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]